Too many online marketers are still trying (and inevitably failing) to succeed with old-school email marketing.
A lot of email marketing advice is based on outdated methods and most list-building tools have failed to stay up to date with the changing landscape of email marketing.
In today's video, you'll discover the 3 most important things you can do to bring your list building up to date (and the features in Thrive Leads that help you do it).
This post follows our Upgrade Opt-in Week, in which we released a series of new opt-in form templates for our users. Now, it's time to not only upgrade your opt-in form designs, but also how you use them.
What is Old School Email Marketing?
Old-school email marketing is a common atrategy that made many people wealthy in the early days of online business. It goes like this:
Step 1: on your website, focus all your efforts on getting leads. Do whatever you can to get people to subscribe to your mailing list.
Step 2: once they're on your mailing list, hit those subscribers with promotional messages and affiliate links, non-stop.
Back when email was a relatively new thing, this worked like a charm. Through the email channel, you had people's (almost) undivided attention. And because there was so little competition, it was easy to build up a large list and simply burn your subscribers out with promotional messages. You'd lose many subscribers, but on the whole, more promotion equaled more revenue.
I even remember a particular marketer's advice to send multiple emails a day, simply because he saw his revenue increase when he emailed more often. Were his subscribers annoyed? Most of them, probably. But his bottom line didn't care.
Nowadays, this approach has become ineffective. The average user gets over 100 emails per day, so your subscribers' attention is everything but undivided. Average click-through rates have sunk to low single digits in most industries. And on top of that, promotional messages are automatically sorted away by various filters and algorithms.
As a result of all this, the old-school approach simply isn't effective anymore.
What Works Now?
Email marketing has become relationship marketing. You have to earn the attention of people in your audience.
Email is a great way to create ongoing communication with your audience and to get people to return to your website. Email is also still a strong driver of revenue for most businesses. But you can't take for granted that an email subscriber cares about you, your business or your messages.
What you can do is make use of one of the oldest rules of sales: it takes multiple interactions between a person and a brand or product before that person is ready to make a purchase.
Email is how you can facilitate these multiple interactions. Use it for your content marketing. Use it to send people useful, relevant content and bring them back to your site repeatedly.
Instead of trying to hit people over the head with sales messages, give people a good reason to visit your website and let your website convince them to become customers (incidentally, this is also a GDPR friendly approach to email marketing).
Upgrade #1: Different Content For Your Subscribers
If you want to use your email marketing as a channel to get turn one-time visitors into return visitors, this first strategy is crucial. The goal here is that:
- When a new visitor comes to your website, you can optimize for lead generation.
- When an existing subscriber comes to your website, you can optimize for something else.
This "something else" can be one of many things. Maybe you just want to have them engage with your content, share it on social media or leave a comment. In this case, you can show them a "clear" website without opt-in offers and interruptions.
Or maybe you have a beginner/ToFu opt-in offer that you show to new visitors and a more advanced/BoFu offer you show to existing subscribers, to get them to progress in your funnel.
Or, as shown in the video, you have an opt-in offer showing to new visitors and an ad for a premium product such as an online course, which you display for people who've already subscribed to your list.
In any case, the one thing you should absolutely stop doing is to ask your subscribers to subscribe!
The feature in Thrive Leads that makes this possible is called SmartLinks. Whenever you send a link to your site or one of your blog posts in an email, generate a SmartLink first. Click here to learn more about SmartLinks.
Upgrade #2: A/B Test All The Things
Which of the 225 templates we released over the last 7 days is the best one? What converts better: a lightbox opt-in form or a Scroll Mat? Should you show your opt-in overlays immediately or after 10 seconds? Or maybe only when the visitor is about to leave? Will a 2-step opt-in increase your conversions?
The answer to all of these questions is: no one knows.
Sure, there are countless examples and case studies that show one type of opt-in form performing better than another. But for most of these, you can also find a case study that proves the opposite (for example, here's an article that shows how more form fields can sometimes increase conversions).
This is because conversion optimization is extremely context dependent. It depends on your website, your visitors, your industry and countless other factors.
The only way to know what really works best for your business and on your website is to test.
In Thrive Leads, you can A/B test everything. Every single one of the questions above can be answered via A/B testing in our plugin. You can test different form types against each other, test different trigger, different copy, different designs... you name it.
Plus, we've made testing not only possible, but also convenient. Check out the video to see an example of a "lazy" test you can run. And here's a post with another such lazy test that yielded surprising results.
Upgrade #3: Improve Your Lead Quality
It's one thing to get more email leads, but it's another to get higher quality email leads.
Ideally, you can have both. The best way to ensure that you get higher quality leads is to increase the targeting and relevance in your opt-in offers.
The basic and bare minimum for any website is to have a single, generic opt-in offer. A catch-all that is related to your business in general and hopefully appeals to most people in your market.
Once you have that, start thinking about adding more specific opt-in offers. To use the example from the video: on a photography themed website, you may offer a guide to optimizing photographs for Instagram as well as a gear guide. These two offers appeal to different segments of your market.
By sending subscribers to different mailing lists or tagging them based on the offer they signed up for, you can send them more targeted, more relevant content.
In Thrive Leads, you can use the targeting feature to show specific opt-in offers based on posts, pages, tags, categories and so on. Or you can create multiple choice opt-in forms and let visitors self-segment.
In either case, the most important thing is what happens after someone subscribes. You can increase lead quality by sending specific content and follow-up messages that are tailored to the segments in your market.
What's Your Next Step?
With this, we've rounded off our Upgrade Opt-in Week.
Now it's up to you: which of the new templates will you use to breathe new life into your site's lead generation? And which of the techniques shown in this post are you going to apply first, to take your email marketing to the next level?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!